Messiah, King, Spirit

Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life was characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit.

Snoqualmie Falls, Photo by Dave on Unsplash
When an angel informed Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived of the Holy Spirit,” it indicated that something more than a miracle or the fulfillment of prophecy was about to occur. From the start, the presence of the Spirit characterized Christ's life.  He was the long-awaited Anointed One - [Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash].

In the Hebrew Bible, the verb rendered “anointed” is mashakh, meaning “smear, daub; to anoint” (Strong’s - #H4899), the word from which the corresponding English term ‘messiah’ is derived.

The Greek noun used for ‘messiah’ in the Septuagint Greek version of the Bible is christos (Strong’s - #G5547). ‘Christ’ is the anglicized spelling of the Greek noun. Both mashakh and christos denote someone or something that is “anointed” - (Leviticus 4:3, Daniel 9:25, Mathew 1:16).

ANOINTED

Under the Levitical system, olive oil was used to “anoint” persons and things and separate them for sacred or royal service. In the Tabernacle, the altar, tent, table of showbread, and the vessels for rituals were all “anointed,” along with the priests, and especially, the high priest. Kings were anointed at their enthronement, which is why they were termed “Yahweh’s Anointed” - (1 Samuel 12:3, 26:11, Psalm 2:2, 45:7).

The key messianic prophecy applied to Jesus in much of the New Testament is from the second Psalm - (e.g., Matthew 3:17, Hebrews 1:1-5, Revelation 12:5):
  • (Psalm 2:1-9) – “The kings of the earth take their station, and grave men have met by appointment together, against Yahweh and against his Anointed One… My Lord will mock at them: Then will he speak to them in his anger, and in his wrath confound them: Yet I have installed my king, on Zion my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree, Yahweh has said to me: You are my son. This day, I have begotten you.

The Psalm is about the ideal king of Israel destined to sit on David’s throne forever. He is called Yahweh’s anointed, as well as My king” and son.”

THE SPIRIT

The Psalm is a prophecy about Jesus, the “anointed one,” the son” and king whom God appoints to reign over the nations - from “Mount Zion.” But unlike kings and priests, he is anointed with God’s Spirit, not olive oil. The presence of the Spirit is what sets him apart from all his predecessors.

All four gospels record how the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism. In each account, his anointing is confirmed by a visual effect (“descended like a dove”) and an audible voice from heaven (“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”):
  • (John 1:32-34) – “And John testified, saying, I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said to me: Upon whomsoever you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he that baptizes in the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness, that this is the Son of God.

When the voice declares, “this is my beloved Son,” it is echoing the clause from the second Psalm - “You are my Son.” The descent of the Spirit means he is “anointed” directly by God Himself.

In the Old Testament, when necessary, certain men were endowed temporarily by God’s Spirit, but with Jesus, the Spirit descended and “remains on him.” Moreover, he has the fullness of the Spirit, “not by measure” - (John 3:34).

SPIRIT-LED MINISTRY

Following his baptism, Jesus was driven “by the Spirit” into the wilderness to be tested. Luke records that after defeating Satan, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” Shortly thereafter, while preaching in a synagogue, he declared:
  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” - (Luke 4:13-18).

Thus, it was the Spirit that equipped Jesus for ministry. He himself attributed his miracles and deeds to the Spirit of God.

Ellenville Photo by Gerald Berliner on Unsplash
[Photo by Gerald Berliner on Unsplash]


For example, when he is accused of exorcising demons “by the power of Satan,” he retorts, “But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons” - (Matthew 12:28). This is also the understanding of the early church:
  • (Acts 10:38) - “How God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary because God, was with him.

Thus, the Spirit is integral to the identity, mission, and goal of the Messiah. But Jesus also is the one who possesses and dispenses the Spirit, and he promised to send the Spirit after his glorification:
  • (John 7:37-39) – “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, just as said the Scripture, Rivers from within him shall flow of living water. Now, this he spoke concerning the Spirit which they who believed on him were about to receive; for, not yet was the Spirit, because not yet was Jesus glorified.
  • (John 15:26) – “Whensoever the Advocate shall come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which from the Father comes forth, He will bear witness concerning me.”

BAPTIZER IN THE SPIRIT

After his ascension, he “sent the promise of his Father,” the gift of the Spirit, upon his disciples, empowering them for gospel proclamation “to the uttermost ends of the earth.”

When he began to reign following his ascension, he “received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.” As Paul writes, “having ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.

Thus, the possession of the Spirit and the authority to distribute its gifts belongs to Jesus, Yahweh’s Anointed king.

Jesus is the quintessential man of the Spirit. Neither his messianic mission nor his present reign can be understood apart from the presence and activity of the Spirit, which now likewise sets his people apart for service to the kingdom of God.



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